Skies By Africa

Images of the Heavens By Eric Africa

The Horsehead Nebula

Horsehead Nebula
PseudoRGB Mono H-alpha
Pictures of the Horsehead Nebula are among the standards of astronomy textbooks. This object is so familiar-looking and relatively easy to point a telescope to: it is near the southeastern most of the three stars of Orion (the "leftmost" star of Orion's belt from the perspective of a Northern Hemisphere-based observer). Unfortunately, it is one of the toughest to spot visually, as it needs very dark skies and very large telescopes to see. Photographically though, it is a beauty.
Constellation: Orion
When Visible: December - April
Distance: 1,500 Light-years
Date: December 2011 - January 2012
Location: Rancho Hidalgo, Animas, NM
Exposure Details:
H-alpha: 11 x 30 Minutes Binned 1x1
L: 24 x 5 Minutes Binned 1 x 1
Red: 18 x 5 Minutes Binned 1x1
Green: 18 x 5 Minutes Binned 1x1
Blue: 18 x 5 Minutes Binned 1x1

12 Hours Total Exposure Time
Equipment Used:  Takahashi TOA-130F on an Astro-Physics AP1200GTO mount. SBIG STL-6303E camera with FW8-STL filter wheel and Astrodon LRGB and narrowband filters. Robofocus focuser and Astrodon Takometer rotator.
Acquisition Software : MaximDL 5, TheSky6, CCDAutopilot 4, FocusMax, Takometer Controller
Processing Software: MaximDL, Photoshop CS, Carboni Actions, IrFanView, AviStack
A previous version of this area can be seen here. 4 x 30 Minutes of H-alpha mapped to Red, 2 x 30 Minutes of SII mapped to Green and 12 x 5 Minutes of Blue, all binned 1x1. Takahashi FS-102 at f/6 with a Takahashi reducer on a Takahashi EM200 Temma-PC mount. SBIG STL-6303 camera with 5-position filter wheel and Astrodon narrowband filters. Externally guided with an SBIG Remote Guide Head on a Borg 76ED refractor.